dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

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Three Ideas to Improve the Next Stimulus Package

March 27th, 2020 by dk
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Send people home from their jobs and promise them an Andrew Yang-style “freedom dividend,” and they are going to have suggestions for improving it. Here are three of the best suggestions for the (inevitable) next stimulus package I’ve run across this week.

Subsidize Local News

When Congress began contemplating what bailouts would be necessary to keep society running, the list of threatened industries was long. Just because local journalism was faltering before the current crisis began should be no reason to omit it from subsidies. The Columbia Journalism Review calculates that 25,000 local journalism jobs could be secured with a grant of $625 million.

Could anyone make an honest case that cruise ships are more important to the future of our society than local journalists? Exposing corruption and incompetence will be especially important now that the government plans to dole out millions and billions to industries all at once.

Congress would be wise to double the grant, establishing an endowment to subsidize future salaries. Call it the Ben Franklin Fund, since the newspaperman never held elected office, but has always been a full-fledged Founding Father.

Make People Spend It

Stanford Professor Herbert Lin suggests the government not send checks to its citizens because the funds may be saved and not spent. Spending is what’s necessary to stimulate the economy. That could be nearly assured if Americans received debit cards instead, set to expire in three months.

Those who would prefer to sock the money away and save it for a rainy day would be encouraged to spend it immediately rather than lose it entirely. For the economy as a whole, the day won’t get any rainier than this, so we need everyone to spend their dividend quickly to give the economy the necessary boost.

We’ve heard too many stories lately about how airlines and hotel companies didn’t use the windfall that came from 2017’s tax reform to help their workers or their customers. They used the extra money to buy back their stock instead. Depositing your government check into an investment account would be roughly equivalent. Lin’s plan would make sure you spend it.

True Debt Relief

Congress gave up trying to determine how any direct subsidy to Americans could be targeted to reach the greatest need. The solution might be deceptively simple. If the federal government paid off every American’s credit card debt, it would come to roughly the same amount as they are planning to send out next week — about $1 trillion.

University of Missouri professor Michael Hudson claims a debt jubilee would free up American society in more powerful ways than anything else. Widespread debt relief is not untested. It revived Germany after WWII. Assyrian rulers employed it regularly millennia ago.

And most of us have a book somewhere that lays out how and why debt forgiveness can and should be used. Mosaic Law in the Bible’s Old Testament mandates jubilee debt relief every 50 years, to keep Jews out of bondage to one another, that they may “live securely in the land.” Doesn’t that seem like an appropriate goal for society today?

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

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Social Distancing Gives Us a Sporting Chance

March 27th, 2020 by dk
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Maybe it’s good that we’re all taking a forced break from watching competitive sports. This coronavirus has given us an entirely different sort of March madness.

Sport divides outcomes equally into winners and losers. We like that. The players themselves are constantly mindful of the game itself — its skills, strategies, rules, integrity, history. Winning sits in a larger context for athletes, but not for most fans. Winning is all that matters, so the other side must lose.

Spectator sports distract us from what matters more. Namely, the greater good and collective action. Or, in this case, collective inaction. Oregonians are being told to shelter in place, leaving home only for essential activities.

Some would rather continue their life uninterrupted by the current threat. The governor’s plea was clear. Even if you don’t think you’re at risk, or you’re willing to accept that risk, stay put anyway. Take one for the team. You may be carrying the virus. Don’t infect others who cannot afford the risk.

This lockdown won’t last forever, but it also won’t be lifted on some arbitrary date. Current restrictions must continue until they are no longer necessary, and no one knows how long that will take.

The economy will falter from this inactivity. At least for a little while, we should stop caring about money and start caring for one another. Idling our economic engines buys us what we need most — time. Time to study the virus’s patterns, time to manufacture testing kits and protective equipment, time to design vaccine testing trials.

We shouldn’t fully gear up again until the road ahead is at least visible, if not clear. Each of us has to do this for the sake of the common good. Being a good team player is what will keep us all in the game. If you find yourself getting stir crazy, especially if you’re young and healthy, some essential social services could greatly use your help.

Here’s just one example. Ebbert United Methodist Church prepares meals for Springfield’s homeless population several days a week. “No one on my team is under 60,” Administrative Assistant Danette Lamson, 60, told me. The dangers haven’t lessened the need.

Nina Weant, 86, only recently stopped handing out sack lunches to guests. “I had to put a brick in her lap to keep her inside,” Lamson lamented.

Judy Brown, 72, has taken up much of the slack. Lamson tries to keep her elderly volunteers away from guests and the risk of infection, but Brown does the Costco shopping each week. 

That’s more than a 70-something should be doing right now, but no one half her age has stepped up. If that might be you, call Lamson at the church: 541-746-3513.

Volunteer efforts have been fueled by retirees since households began needing two incomes. Working adults didn’t have as much time to devote to the greater good, but that has suddenly — and maybe not temporarily — changed.

A new generation of volunteers could emerge from this catastrophe. Can we have a stronger society when this danger has passed? The coronavirus has given us a sporting chance.

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

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Biden Should Give This Speech

March 24th, 2020 by dk
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Here’s the speech I wish Joe Biden would make.

This is an unparalleled time in our nation’s history. I want to speak to all Americans — not just to my supporters — during this perilous time. I’m grateful to the dozen former presidential candidates who have endorsed my campaign during this cycle. Today, I want to make an endorsement of my own.

I hope my friend and colleague, Senator Sanders, will join me and we can show America how leaders can put aside their differences when circumstances demand it. If our actions today inspire others to do the same, I’m sure that would please both of us.

More importantly, I hope it will begin to renew faith with the American people. Without the confidence of our fellow citizens, we cannot succeed. With that confidence, our success cannot be doubted.

Today I’m endorsing Elizabeth Warren for president in 2024. I’m also inviting her to join my campaign as vice president, but in a different way than has been the recent practice. I know something about being vice president. I have a few thoughts about how the job can be made more important.

I entered this race to renew Americans’ faith in government. This is a battle for the soul of the nation. Each of my Democratic colleagues agrees with that. Leaders must always be looking ahead, because their decisions shape the future that all of us will inhabit.

Returning American life to normalcy has always been my goal, but none of us anticipated the disruptions now reshaping the lives of every American. What will “normal” look like after the coronavirus pandemic has been overcome? I can tell you this — it won’t look like what we knew a couple of months ago.

Pharaoh wasn’t brought down by that plague of frogs. He failed because he didn’t have a plan to deal with the frogs. Elizabeth Warren always has a plan. She saw what went wrong during the last national crisis that almost led to an economic depression. It didn’t, thank God, but it was close.

Warren set to work immediately, crafting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Our citizens are no longer being duped into fraudulent mortgage commitments today because of the work she did and the vision she had. I want those skills in the White House every day, working on plans for the future of America.

Our plans don’t always agree, but that’s OK with me. Some of you will recall that I embraced gay marriage, when my boss was still on the fence. That worked out pretty well for everyone involved. I expect nothing less from Elizabeth Warren — and from Senator Sanders and from his followers. Let’s build this future together.

Finally, let me tell you what’s in my heart.

I don’t want to be remembered as the 46th president of the United States, though I believe I’ll make you proud if I’m given that privilege. I want to be remembered as a statesman — someone who brought people together to accomplish the greater good. I always strive for that, and today is no different. Thank you, and God bless America.

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com. He served as a speechwriter for the Obama administration. Kahle wrote a different column around the same idea exactly a year ago: https://www.registerguard.com/opinion/20190324/kahle-biden-his-time

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Society’s “Time Out” Gives Us A Chance to Reflect

March 24th, 2020 by dk
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I think of social distancing as a societal and adult version of a “time out.” We used this discipline  technique often when our boys were growing up. As they were sitting alone in a corner, we asked them to consider how and why they had been naughty. It’s time for all of us to do the same.

We can start with corporate greed, but only because it’s emblematic for many other tendencies that have sprung up around us that may be more subtle. Government bailout pleas came first from airlines.

Airlines warned that they would be out of business by May without a $50 billion bailout — after making record profits for most of the past decade. Did they save those profits to weather this storm? No, they bought back their own stock.

Corporate short-sightedness is naughty, but it’s also normal. Just-in-time inventory practices increase efficiency, but only when everything is available almost immediately. That sounds good, until it’s not. We are facing a tragic shortage of ventilators and hospital beds because efficiencies became more important than contingencies.

We’ve stopped preparing for disasters. Forty percent of Americans can’t cover an emergency expense of $400. That might be because they are underpaid, but it’s also because we’ve come to believe that saving is for suckers. Dave Ramsey notwithstanding, we plan only for tomorrows that are sunny. That’s not good.

Turns out we’re not really capitalists at all. We’re fair weather capitalists. At the first bump in the road, we want socialist shock absorbers — free virus testing, paid sick leave, mortgage loan relief.

Airlines and hotels offer free refunds for unused reservations. Utility companies suspend shutoffs for non-payment. Student loan interest is suspended. Broadband providers are temporarily lifting data caps. TSA is allowing passengers to carry 12-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer.

Why are these humane responses reserved for emergencies? How did normal become so inhumane? There’s plenty of naughtiness to spread around.

None of us is safer than the weakest among us. We’ve forgotten that, if we ever knew it. We hoard because we feel strongest when we’re shopping or eating. We’ve lost track of how caring for others can make us feel stronger. Altruism also happens to make us stronger and more resilient, but we’ve gotten too busy for that.

We chose an entertainer as president, because we didn’t think it would matter. Protesters took to the streets for a few months, but then settled back into their routines. People cancel their subscription to local journalism because it might not be as good as it once was. Self-satisfaction is not what keeps us strong. Ignorance is not bliss.

I’ll end with one hopeful sign. Climate scientists have seen CO2 emissions plummet across Europe. China’s air is the cleanest it’s been in decades. Slow sustainability is here. Our childishly naughty normal has been interrupted. We’re taking time out to see things more clearly. We can distinguish now between what’s impossible and what’s merely unpleasant.

We have the capacity to avert ecological disaster, after all! The solutions may be unpleasant, but they can no longer be seen as impossible. 

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

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Fixing Salem Truancies

March 14th, 2020 by dk
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It was almost dark in a quasi-industrial neighborhood not far from the university. The doorway under the stairs seemed lonely from lack of use. A bare bulb was covered with cobwebs and a little moss. Beside the “G. Farsnow” nameplate was a note: “Bell Broke. Knock or GO AWAY.”

Gil Farsnow had never been the welcoming type. He made up for it by entertaining ideas that others would shut the door to avoid. I knocked. “It’s open!” came the response.

I pushed the door open, with some effort. “It sticks when things are wet, which is always,” he remarked without looking up. Gil was peering at a puzzle below the only light in the apartment. “What’s an eight-letter word that means standoff?”

“Standoff.”

Gil smiled. “— that ends with k.”

“Deadlock.”

He put down his pen. “Would you like something to drink?”

I wanted to say yes, if only because I wasn’t sure he had any idea who had just walked through his seldom-used door. He seemed genuinely uninterested. “No thanks.” I stepped around the unhidden hide-a-bed toward the table with his puzzle.

He looked up for the first time, and smiled again, motioning to a chair. I was craving light and there wasn’t much to be had. The bulb over his table — with no moss on it — suddenly began swinging as I sat.

“Heavy machinery rattles everything down here,” he explained, as he opened the rattling refrigerator, four steps away. “I don’t hear the construction too much, but I feel it. Since Hayward Field fell behind schedule, it’s been seven days a week. You can set your clock to it. The shaking will stop at seven — but only for exactly 12 hours.”

I cradled my palms, as if holding a cup. My eyes wanted light. My hands wanted warmth.

“What’s our topic today?” Farsnow began. “Deadlocks and rattles? Do you need a third?”

I didn’t. “How about those two combined? People are rattled by the standoff in Salem over the cap-and-trade. What can be done?”

“Special sessions,” Farsnow muttered, as if I was the fifth person to ask.

“But the Republicans won’t show up,” I complained.

“True,” Farsnow thrust his index finger up, to make a point or measure the breeze — maybe both. “You know where else they won’t show up? Anywhere in Oregon, where state troopers could arrest them and bring them to the capitol.”

“How does that help?” I asked, wishing it was another word puzzle.

“No Republican incumbents could campaign if a special session is underway. They could go to all the barbecues and parades and rodeos they want — in Idaho or Wyoming, but not in Oregon.” The bulb seemed to brighten. “Governor Brown could effectively exile Republican incumbents during campaign season. Democrats could then win the quorum on their own.”

I wanted to ask more, but the bulb started swaying again and I had what I needed.

The door sticks when it’s wet, but it still does its job. I got my answer before darkness descended. I hope there’s a plan somewhere in Salem to do the same.  

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

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Every Public Health Crisis Has Two Aspects

March 13th, 2020 by dk
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Every public health crisis represents the intersection of two calculations, writ large across communities. Each of us weighs our private answer to two important questions: “What is my risk and what protections are in place?”

The first calculation is getting most of the attention and rightly so. This novel coronavirus is first and foremost novel — it’s new, so we don’t yet understand enough about it. We don’t know exactly how it moves across and inside populations, so we’re not certain how to best protect those around us.

The second calculation is also novel, at least for many of us. This second contagion affects the mind, not the body. It has been spreading in plain sight for decades, reaching epidemic proportions over the last few years. We no longer trust our government to tell us the truth and keep us safe. That trust is at an all-time low.

This virus strains our social stability. We haven’t met any threat that has such tangible consequences across all demographics. Recent pandemics were more localized, isolating waves of panic inside subsets of the population. 

H1N1 Swine Flu was widespread but not often fatal. HIV/AIDS was often fatal but not widespread. COVID-19 has shown itself to be both. Most of the COVID-19 fatalities have been among the elderly and those with underlying health issues, but most of us have contact with those who fit that profile. Our complacency could have dire consequences.

In fact, the slow onset and mild symptoms make the virus all the more dangerous. You may be carrying and spreading the virus before you ever show symptoms. Your first cough or sneeze could infect those around you, but by then your social contacts in everyday life could have already been infecting others for a week.

Until we understand better how the virus operates, abundance of caution is the order of the day. Unfortunately, none of us have clean rooms and lab equipment to be testing the virus to learn more about it. We rely on the Center for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization to do that work for us.

And then we rely on our leaders to tell us what they are learning, and what lines of defense are being developed or recommended. Our current president has not been terribly helpful in this regard. Faced with skyrocketing fears of pandemic and recession, he may as well have banned skyrockets.

I have conservative friends who insist this distrust began  when Obama promised you could keep your doctor under ObamaCare. I have liberal friends who point to Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction leading us to war. Older friends cite Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress or Papa Bush’s BCCI scandal or Iran-Contra or Watergate. So it goes.

Trust in government and other public institutions has plummeted. Until now, there were no felt consequences that flowed from such distrust. The luxury of distraction and indifference has ended abruptly. This problem is being transmitted far more efficiently than the solutions. Our responses lack collective coherence. And nothing’s more contagious than panic.

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

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FDR’s “Fear Itself” Quote is Relevant Today

March 8th, 2020 by dk
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Our local Costco had its busiest February shopping day ever last Saturday — busier than the usual December holiday panic days. The store completely sold out of toilet paper, of all things. Stores across the area ran out of hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, and face masks.

Hand sanitizers that you would usually find in the Dollar Store are popping up for sale online for $100. France has plans to nationalize the manufacture and distribution of face masks and respirators, so they can be made available for those who need them most. Oregon is rationing its coronavirus test kits, screening first for verified need.

Whether we were aware or not, we’ve been commemorating “Fear Itself Day.” Franklin Roosevelt coined the famous term during his first inaugural address on March 4, 1933. He addressed a panicked nation and world 87 years ago this past Wednesday. It’s worth revisiting.

“First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

There’s more, and it speaks to the mood and state of our nation today.

“Rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence…. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men…. We [must now] apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit….” 

“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to … our fellow men. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.”

There’s a lot to unpack here. Working backwards: Foolish optimism has been on full display from the White House, now mixed with dark insinuations about the motives of anyone who recognizes the dark realities of the moment.

Public trust has been squandered for monetary and political profit. Cynicism and suspicion fill the vacuum, mixed with poisonous tribalism. We don’t expect scruples or competence or responsiveness from our leaders. We’ve given up even expecting such things from those in control.

Those failures perversely affirm our refusal to give the government a dime more in taxes, an ounce more of trust, or a moment of self-reflection. We feel justified about our low state, even as we wallow in it. This self-fulfilling circle becomes a spiral of panic.

We have nothing to fear but fear itself, but that fear itself is scarier now. Good thing we bought plenty of toilet paper.

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

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I’d Like to Get Paid for Not Working

March 8th, 2020 by dk
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I’ve been inspired by the lack of leadership that fled Salem last week. Republican legislators have secreted themselves to undisclosed locations, out of state but not out of mind.

“It’s not about denying quorum,” House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby, assured reporters as her colleagues fled. “But it absolutely is about setting a pace inside the building that allows for us to give all of these really big ideas in this short session their due.”

Drazan and most of her fellow Republicans have decided what these really big ideas need is an out-of-state trip where the pace allows for reflection but not self-reflection.

“Pay attention Oregon – this is a true example of partisan politics,” Senate Republican Leader Senator Herman Baertschiger said in a written statement. “Democrats are willfully ignoring 26 counties and one district, representing nearly 2 million Oregonians that have signed proclamations against cap and trade, to push their agenda.”

Proclamations have now replaced legislation. Elected officials have become elected unofficials. But don’t worry. Republicans have a plan to get the work done, but not by them. Baertschiger suggests “referring this legislation to let the people decide.”

The legislation he refers to is about 100 pages long. Those are single-spaced pages, with 55,000 wonky words. It’s filled with riveting passages like this one: “By April 15 next after the filing deadline for the primary election, each candidate described in subsection (1) of this section shall file with the commission a statement of economic interest as required under ORS 244.060, 244.070 and 244.090.”

You won’t have time to garden or hike this summer. These leaders want you to study up. Republicans want the people to decide. Can’t we just hire people to decide for us? Wait, isn’t that what we do in every election? Apparently not.

“I can no longer stand by and watch this poorly crafted cap and trade legislation get steamrolled through the capitol,” Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, said in a written statement. “Sometimes a boycott is the best way to stop bad laws from happening to good people.”

Thatcher is no longer standing by and watching, but she is still getting paid. Oregon lawmakers have made sure their pay cannot be interrupted, even by refusal to come to work.

“I cannot in good conscience represent the citizens and constituents of Senate District 30 or the 2 million other Oregonians who have rightfully opposed this legislation and allow it to go through,” Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, said in written a statement. “If my colleagues will not allow for a fair process in the building, then I will represent my constituents from outside the building.”

Findley is representing her constituents by refusing to represent her constituents. It’s a Zen model of governing, where leaders strive to cease striving.

Next week, I may not write a column and expect payment for the work I failed to do. I may even ask other employers to pay me for their work that I didn’t do. The Republicans not in Salem have blazed a path for paid inaction. I’ll only be following their lead.

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

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Bernie Freak-Out is Overblown

February 28th, 2020 by dk
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I’m not a Bernie Bro, but the current hysteria about his success seems to be getting out of hand.

Based only on votes that have been tabulated, Bernie Sanders is the preferred candidate for the Democratic nomination. Skeptics point out that lackluster turnouts so far belie Sanders’s claim that a groundswell of new (especially young) voters will produce his so-called revolution. But Sanders is not yet running against President Trump.

The same people who claimed Trump couldn’t win are now dissing Sanders. We shouldn’t let pollsters and pundits replace voters. Nobody can predict how citizens will choose between an economic socialist and a cultural populist. We just don’t know.

Every race includes the unexpected and the immeasurable. This race is shaping up to be just like all the others, only more so.

Pollsters are failing with increasing regularity partly because we ditched our landlines. Phone calls were more welcome when we were sitting at home doing nothing. Now we’re barely willing to talk on the phone to our friends, much less to a stranger with a script.

Those of us still willing to speak to pollsters are also more likely to fib. Racism is notoriously difficult to detect in a survey. (It can be done, but it requires extra questions and sophisticated analysis.) Socialists also consider themselves outcasts. We might be undercounting them in the same way.

Pundits assume that democratic socialist policies will whither under the bright lights of a presidential campaign, but that constant attention may have the opposite effect.

Americans may see advantages for themselves. Raising the minimum wage or forgiving student debt could help a nephew get a place of his own. More robust health coverage might calm the nerves of a parent or a spouse. Taking on corporations might sound good after Wal-Mart refuses an exchange because it was purchased 31 days ago.

In other words, people will be living their lives while candidates are articulating their vision. What colors shine through that prism will be very individualized, even if the resulting electoral map will show only blues and reds.

If Bernie’s army of passionate volunteers can somehow be melded with Bloomberg’s technocratic Get Out The Vote machinery, there could be a political sea change in November. That’s not a certainty, but nothing is. We may all be voting from home because the coronavirus has made public gatherings too dangerous.

Sanders is an outlier, to be sure. But so was Trump. We haven’t seen two more fiercely non-generic candidates in at least a century. They have foiled the pundits and pollsters already. November’s vote may turn out to be beyond what Russian meddling can manipulate.

My best friend voted for Trump. He wanted change and he got it. Sanders offers the same quality that attracted him to Trump. “Authenticity,” he confided in me, a non-pollster. “I believe them when they speak, even if I don’t agree with them.”

The last four successful presidential challengers represented radical change from the previous administration. Voters will make the decision, not pollsters. Authenticity may be an immeasurable factor that produces an unexpected outcome.

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

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You Can Help Sabrina Meet Her Goal

February 28th, 2020 by dk
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Sabrina Ionescu has made her goals clear, and you can help her achieve them. When the best college basketball player of her generation announced that she would return for her final season at Oregon, she referred to those goals collectively as “unfinished business.”

Everyone knew that included a national championship trophy from New Orleans this spring. But as the season has unfolded, it’s become clear that her goals were loftier than winning the final game of the NCAA tournament.

Head Coach Kelly Graves recruited her to not just lead the team and win games. He needed her help to build the program here at the University of Oregon into a perennial  winner. Stanford had been the gold standard on the West Coast since Sabrina was a toddler. UConn had gone half a decade without a defeat. Graves and Ionescu wanted Oregon to join that pantheon of powerhouses.

Ionescu has never lost a game at Stanford during her career. Last year, the Ducks handed legendary Stanford coach Tara Vanderveer her worst loss ever in Palo Alto. This year, the Ducks handed UConn coach Geno Auriemma his worst loss at home, as well. Unfinished business, indeed.

Graves told Sabrina and anyone else that he expected her to be the face of college basketball for her senior year. There is no bigger star in the college game right now, for men or women.

WNBA scouts have been watching her every move. That was expected. Seeing the NBA’s biggest stars watching from courtside seats or tweeting about her accomplishments wasn’t. Kobe Bryant’s tragic death only served to underscore how much she has captured the imagination of those who know her sport best.

When Ionescu spoke at Bryant’s memorial service on Monday morning, she shared a bit more of what she hoped to accomplish for her team, her school, her game, and her gender: “I wanted to be a part of the generation that changed basketball,” Ionescu said. “Where being born female didn’t mean being born behind. Where greatness wasn’t divided by gender.”

After speaking to a national audience and sharing the stage with some of the NBA’s all-time greats, she hopped a flight north to join her team. She scored her 26th triple-double, beat the No. 4 team in the country on national TV, and secured the Ducks’ third straight Pac-12 title. She also became the only college player ever with over a thousand career points, rebounds and assists. How was your Monday?

Who can say what lies ahead for Ionescu and the greatness she continues to redefine?

That’s all for tomorrow. What about today — tonight? There’s a line on the stat sheet that includes you and me. The Ducks’ average attendance is 10,619 this season, up from 7,148 last year and 4,255 the year before. The South Carolina Gamecocks lead the nation in attendance. Last year, they averaged 10,406 per game.

Let’s fill Matthew Knight Arena tonight and Sunday afternoon to its capacity of 12,364. If you can’t score a ticket, plan now to buy tickets to watch next year’s No. 1 recruiting class. Then more of Ionescu’s “unfinished business” will be accomplished.

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com. Kahle and his son have had season tickets since 2017, behind the basket nearest the Ducks’ bench.

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